Recently I saw a post on Facebook about parents who almost lost a baby. The baby had choked on her pacifier while at daycare. Thankfully the baby survived. The mother posted her story to Facebook with a follow up thanking God for always knowing what he’s doing. There was a lot of backlash, especially from parents who had lost children. The argument being, “How can God be there for one child, but not another?”
This reminds me of losing my own parents. Ramona died on Valentines Day in 2009. My first instinct was of course anger. I didn’t understand how everything had been going so perfectly the day before, then turned to complete destruction the day after. I had been going to Church, but I didn’t really get it. All of my anger blinded me, and I often called out, “Why God? How could you God?” I’d say it with hate, and I regret that.
A month later, the youth group I was in was going to something called, “Dead Grass Camp.” It was a weekend retreat up in the mountains, and I was looking forward to it because it was one more way to escape real life. I had no idea that it was exactly what I needed.
While we were there, the youth pastor, Ty, walked us through a study of Second Timothy. The first important verse I want to talk to you about is:
6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. 9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.
As a start to the book, this seems like a confusing passage. I’m suffering because I believe? What is this nonsense? Why does serving God, following his word, and accepting his love mean that I should suffer? It seemed so backwards… But we moved on.
You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. 3 Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.5 Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. 7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.
8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
Ah. So we must work hard to reap our benefits? We must put in the effort before we can receive God’s grace? That doesn’t make sense. The Bible tells us that in order to receive his love and blessings, we much only believe in him, and of course repent. Jesus was nailed to the cross to wash away our sins, and grant us everlasting life. So what does this all mean?
19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”
Wickedness? What does that mean exactly? Ty explained it well… When we are going through the worst of times, as Christians we are to trust in God. Not because we like what’s going on, but because we know that he knows what is happening. Death is not about us. It hurts, it seems wrong, especially when it’s a child. We get angry, we scream out, and we are looking for someone to blame. When we do that though, we are telling God that he is wrong. We know though, that God is never wrong. We know that Heaven is waiting for our loved ones, and that no life on Earth could compare to living in God’s home. No life here is as splendid and amazing as the one that allows us to look upon his face. We never know the tragedy that these lost loved ones would have faced if the perfect Lord himself didn’t take them home sooner than we would have liked. When we turn away from God, our faith is tested, and wicked words come out. Some would call this a test, but I think it’s a lesson instead. It’s a time for us to learn at the very core to trust God in all things, even the things that might hurt us the most. Giving him even a tiny bit of trust leads to the most amazing love.
I know more than most how hard that is. Yet, learning it has truly changed my life. The next month when I lost my other mother, Robyn, I was better equipped and grieved very differently. I looked for the positives. I searched out the reasons God chose then. My mother no longer suffered, I was given a chance to live a better life, and it’s even easier to look back at it now. My life isn’t perfect, but it’s perfect for me. God knew what he was doing, and it’s left me with the most amazing family. I wouldn’t have my son if my mother lived another two months. I wouldn’t have met Corey. This was our fate, written by the almighty savior Himself. I am thankful to walk out of this tragedy with my faith stronger than ever. It’s been almost six years, and I still remember to thank God for teaching me to believe.
I’ll leave you with this last bit of scripture. I really recommend taking a look at all of Second Timothy. It’s a very sad book to be honest, but one of the most important in my humble opinion.
10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured.Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.